Luxury Round-Trip from Rila Mountain to the Black Sea
A tour of Bulgaria that takes you to three of its UNESCO World Heritage sites – the famous Boyana Church and its beautiful 10th century frescoes, the Rila Monastery, known for its stunning architecture and cultural significance and the Old Town of Nessebar, an architectural reserve that’s home to churches built as far back as the 4th century AD. You will get to explore the cities of Sofia and Plovdiv and see their top attractions. This tour gives you the unique opportunity to experience one of the mountains of Bulgaria and its beautiful seaside on the same trip, as well as experience the flawless hospitality this country in known for at luxury hotels the whole way.
• See the UNESCO listed Boyana Church, known for its unique frescoes
• Visit Rila Monastery – another UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Travel to Nessebar’s Old Town on the Black Sea – also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Explore two of Bulgaria’s most beautiful cities – Sofia and Plovdiv
• Experience Rila Mountain and the Black Sea coast within the same trip
• Take advantage of the SPA & Wellness centers at the hotels
• Enjoy luxury accommodation from start to finish
Arrival and pick-up from Sofia Airport.
We’ll start our trip with a sightseeing tour of Sofia’s top attractions. Its busy streets, the beautiful Baroque architecture in the Center and the park possess a lively charm that leaves you eager to explore, but the monuments and landmarks it is most famous for deserve our full attention.
The Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is one of the largest Orthodox Christian cathedrals in the world and the second largest on the Balkan peninsula. Its impressive size and intricate design mark it as one of the most stunning architectural marvels in Bulgaria and Sofia’s most recognizable landmark.
The Saint Sophia Basilica is a red-brick church is stands atop the foundations of a sacred temple built in Roman times. The city of Sofia is named after this basilica.
The Church of St. George, built by the Romans is in the 4th century, is an early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia.
The Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker is a beautiful golden-domed church designed in the Russian Revival Style. Visually, it is unlike any other Orthodox church in Bulgaria. It is believed to be able to grant wishes.
The Boyana Church is one of Bulgaria’s 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is a medieval Orthodox church built sometime in the late 10th century. It is famous for its stunning wall murals (over 240 of them), all dating to different time periods, the most valuable of which were painted in the distant year of 1259.
Overnight in Sofia.
We’ll start the day with a trip to Rila Monastery – the biggest monastery in Bulgaria and one of the country’s most emblematic cultural landmarks, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
It is the most influential spiritual centre in the country, known amongst locals and travellers for its stunning architecture, and the atmospheric, always bustling with people wider complex. It was founded in the 10th century by the monk-hermit John of Rila, who was later named patron saint of Bulgaria.
Overnight at a beautiful hotel located only 600 m away from the monastery.
We will start the day with a hike in Rila mountain. On this trail we will see the beautiful slopes of Rila Mountain and one of the most beloved natural landmarks in Bulgaria – the Seven Rila Lakes. We’ll use the lift to get to the start of the hiking trail and back. The hike is not too difficult and is suitable for hikers of all levels of experience.
After that we head for Plovdiv.
We will go out for some sightseeing, starting with a walk down the Main Shopping Street to see the ancient Roman Stadium and its uncovered northern part, which is open to visitors.
Next is Kapana (i.e. “the Trap”) – Plovdiv’s famed art corner, made up of a labyrinth of intertwining streets lined with modern art stores, stylish little cafes, building walls colorfully painted by talented street artists and constantly changing pieces of modern art scattered around every corner.
We will have two days to see as much of Plovdiv as we want, so we can leave some of these sights for the next day.
Overnight in Plovdiv.
In the morning, after breakfast we head for Bachkovo Monastery, only half an hour away from Plovdiv.
Bachkovo monastery “Assumption of Holy Virgin” is the second largest in Bulgaria and a national cultural landmark. The cobbled road leading up to the monastery is lined with market stalls selling trinkets, folk craft, homemade jam, honey and spices. Bachkovo Monastery was founded all the way back in the 11th century and has since been partially destroyed, rebuilt and restored numerous times. The monastery has 2 courtyards, 4 churches and its own museum showcasing crucifixes, ceremonial garbs, manuscripts, icons and donated jewelry. In the cathedral there is an icon from 1311 known as the Miracle Working Icon of the Holy Virgin, with a silver repousse cover. It is believed that the icon has miraculous powers.
The area around the monastery has several traditional Bulgarian restaurants where we can sit down for lunch and get a taste of the local cuisine.
Later we’ll have time for some more sightseeing in Plovdiv.
On this day, we‘ll explore the Old Town – a historical and architectural reserve known for its buildings in the style of the Bulgarian Revival Period, ancient Roman and Thracian ruins, various monuments and landmarks, all perfectly illustrating the complicated history that has shaped this city into the Plovdiv of today. We’ll visit its most famous and noteworthy landmarks, including the Balabanov and Hindliyan Houses, the Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic Museum, and, of course, the crown jewel of this city – the Ancient Roman Theatre.
Overnight in Plovdiv.
After breakfast, we’ll be transported to the Black Sea coast via the Trakia Motorway. It takes slightly over 3 hours to reach our destination – the town of Nessebar (also spelled Nesebar). With a history of over 3200 years, it is one of the most ancient settlements in Europe.
The bulk of Nessebar’s attractions is in its Old Town, the entirety of which is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Town is on a small peninsula that was once the location of the ancient Thracian settlement Mesambria Pontica. The Old Nessebar is an architectural reserve made up of houses in the Bulgarian Revival Period style with a unique Nessebar regional twist to it. It has 13 historical and active churches, the oldest of which – the Hagia Sophia Church dates back to the 4th century AD.
Overnight in Sunny Beach.
We’ll spend our last day on the coast sunbathing on the beach, enjoying a variety of SPA treatments at the hotel’s wellness centre, or just relaxing and enjoying our stay. We can also go on short excursions on the seaside on request.
Overnight in Sunny Beach.
Transfer to Sofia after breakfast.
Price per person
• For a minimum of 6 people: 600 €
• For a minimum of 4 people: 700 €
• For a minimum of 2 people: 850 €
Inclusions / exclusions
The price includes
• An experienced and knowledgeable English-speaking tour guide
• 6 overnights at luxury 3 and 4-star hotels along the way, in double rooms
• Half-board (all breakfasts and dinners)
The price does not include
• Entrance fees
• Single room: +15 €
Price for groups of over 10 people: on request
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